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All other goods by fortune's hand are given.
Our grandsire Adam, ere of Eve possest,
A wife! ah gentle deities ! can he That has a wife e'er feel adversity ? Would men but follow what the sex advise, All things would prosper, all the world grow wise. 'Twas by Rebecca's aid that Jacob won His father's blessing from an elder son: Abusive Nabal ow'd his forfeit life To the wise conduct of a prudent wife : Heroic Judith, as old Hebrews show, Preserv'd the Jews, and slew th’ Assyrian foe : At Hester's suit the persecuting sword Was sheath'd, and Israel liv'd to bless the Lord.
These weighty motives January the sage Maturely ponder'd in his riper age ; And charm’d with virtuous joys, and sober life, Would try that christian comfort, call’d a wife.
His friends were summon'd on a point so nice
heads are wiser still than one ; Choose
who best shall be content When
desire's approv'd by your consent. “One caution yet is needful to be told To guide your choice; this wife must not be
There goes a saying, and 'twas shrewdly said,
As subtle clerks by many schools are made, Twice married dames are mistresses o'th' trade : But young and tender virgins, rul’d with ease, We form like wax, and mould them as we please.
“Conceive me, sirs, nor take my sense amiss ; 'Tis what concerns my soul's eternal bliss ; Since if I found no pleasure in my spouse, As flesh is frail, and who (God help me) knows? Then should I live in lewd adultery, And sink downright to Satan when I die: Or were I curs’d with an unfruitful bed, The righteous end were lost for which I wed; To raise up seed to bless the powers above, And not for pleasure only, or for love. Think not I dote; 'tis time to take a wife, When vigorous blood forbids a chaster life : Those that are blest with store of grace divine, May live like saints by heaven's consent and mine.
“ And since I speak of wedlock, let me say, (As, thank my stars, in modest truth I may) My limbs are active, still I'm sound at heart, And a new vigour springs in every part. Think not my virtue lost, though time has shed These reverend honours on my hoary head : Thus trees are crown'd with blossoms white as snow, The vital sap then rising from below. Old as I am, my lusty limbs appear Like winter greens, that flourish all the year. Now, sirs, you know to what I stand inclin'd, Let every friend with freedom speak his mind.” ,
He said ; the rest in different parts divide ; The knotty point was urg'd on either side : Marriage, the theme on which they all declaim'd, Some prais'd with wit, and some with reason
First to the knight Placebo thus begun, (Mild were his looks, and pleasing was his tone) “ Such prudence, sir, in all your words appears, As plainly proves experience dwells with years ! Yet you pursue sage
Solomon's advice, To work by counsel when affairs are nice: But, with the wise man's leave, I must protest, So may my soul arrive at ease and rest, As still I hold your own advice the best.
“Sir, I have liv'd a courtier all my days, And studied
Nay, if my lord affirm'd that black was white, My word was this, ' Your honour's in the right.' Th' assuming wit, who deems himself so wise As his mistaken patron to advise, Let him not dare to vent his dangerous thought; A noble fool was never in a fault. This, sir, affects not you, whose every word Is weigh'd with judgment, and befits a lord :
and their ways;
Your will is mine; and is (I will maintain)
Justin, who silent sate, and heard the man,
“ A heathen author, of the first degree, (Who, though not faith, had sense as well as we) Bids us be certain our concerns to trust To those of generous principles and just. The venture's greater, I'll presume to say, To give your person, than your goods away: And therefore, sir, as you regard your rest, First learn your lady's qualities at least : Whether she's chaste or rampant, proud or civil, Meek as a saint, or haughty as the devil ; Whether an easy, fond, familiar fool, Or such a wit as no man e'er can rule. 'Tis true, perfection none must hope to find In all this world, much less in womankind; But if her virtues prove the larger share, Bless the kind fates, and think
fortune rare. Ah, gentle sir, take warning of a friend, Who knows too well the state you thus commend; And spite of all his praises must declare, All he can find is bondage, cost, and care.